Queen's Speech should have done more for Cumbria
Speaking this afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron said that the Queen's Speech should have done more for Cumbria.
Tim pointed to some welcome announcements - the increase in support for mental health, 30 hours free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds by 2017 and an increase in the personal allowance from £10,600 to £12,500. But, he added, these were all things the Liberal Democrats had proposed in the previous government.
The increase in the personal allowance will directly benefit 42,500 people in Cumbria. The proposed bill will also ensure that no one working over 30 hours a week on the current minimum wage of £6.50 an hour will ever have to pay any income tax at all. It is believed that in Westmorland some 7,600 people will be lifted out of tax.
However, Tim raised concerns about how Cumbria is being left behind as the Conservatives rush to devolve power to areas like Greater Manchester, and he attacked the extension of Right to Buy to properties owned by housing associations which he warned would devastate our social housing stock.
Tim urged the Government to give Cumbria more powers running local transport, housing, schools, and healthcare as part of a 'County Deal', something he proposed in the last parliament.
Tim said: "In today's Queen's Speech we heard about the Northern Powerhouse. For people in our area it is neither sufficiently 'northern', nor is it a 'powerhouse'. I will be urging the Government to give extra powers to areas like ours to allow us to take more control over transport, job growth and apprenticeships to allow our economy to grow.
"I will also be making the case, strongly, for the government to drop their Right to Buy plans. Over the last few years we have done so much to increase the amount of social housing locally, and these plans will help pull the ladder up on another generation of people in the South Lakes and will devastate our work. The Government must think again about these plans."